Fermented Wheat Germ Extract

Also known by these names

  • Brand names include Avemar, Avé, AvéULTRA, AWGE, Metatrol and OncoMAR
  • FWGE
  • MSC
  • Wheat germ extract

Key Points

  • Before using this therapy, consult your oncology team about interactions with other treatments and therapies. Also make sure this therapy is safe for use with any other medical conditions you may have.
  • Fermented wheat germ extract (FWGE) is a dietary supplement.
  • BCCT interest in FWGE derives from its anticancer and anti-metastatic effects across several types of cancer.
  • FWGE has enhanced the effectiveness of tamoxifen treatments in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells.
  • FWGE has reduced some chemotherapy-related side effects.
  • Side effects and adverse events are uncommon and usually mild. Some patients should not use FWGE.

Author

Nancy Hepp, MS, BCCT Project Manager

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Reviewer

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS, BCCT Senior Researcher

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Last updated April 15, 2021.

Fermented wheat germ extract (FWGE) is a dietary supplement sold as brand names including Avemar, Avé, AvéULTRA, AWGE, Metatrol and OncoMAR.

Treating the Cancer

Working against cancer growth or spread, improving survival, or working with other treatments or therapies to improve their anticancer action

Clinical Evidence

Colorectal Cancer

  • Improved progression-free and overall survival in people with colorectal cancer treated with radical surgery plus radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy in small studies (both randomized and non-randomized)1
  • Reduced metastasis among patients treated with radical surgery plus radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy in a small non-randomized study2

Melanoma

  • Improved response to dacarbazine, extending both progression-free survival and overall survival, even in high-risk patients and advanced stages in melanoma in a small randomized trial3

Oral Cancer

  • Substantially reduced disease progression among people with oral cancer when added to radical surgery plus postoperative irradiation and/or adjuvant chemotherapy in small nonrandomized studies4

Lab and Animal Evidence

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Optimizing Your Terrain

Creating an environment within your body that does not support cancer development, growth or spread

Clinical Evidence

  • Improved immune system markers in pediatric patients undergoing chemotherapy12

Lab and Animal Evidence

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Managing Side Effects and Promoting Wellness

Managing or relieving side effects or symptoms, reducing treatment toxicity, supporting quality of life or promoting general well-being

Clinical Evidence

In all, evidence to date is positive but not rigorous for improvements in side effects and quality of life:

Fatigue

  • Improved fatigue among people with lung cancer receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in a small study16
  • Possibly improved or reduced side effects of conventional treatment including fatigue in limited clinical trials17

Function and Quality of Life

  • Improved quality of life18
  • Improved quality of life with lung cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in a small study19 and with people with non-small cell lung cancer receiving chemotherapy20
  • Improved physical functions, emotional functions and global state of health among people with breast cancer in a small study21
  • Improved quality of life in head and neck cancer patients when added to conventional therapy22

Nausea and Vomiting and Other Digestive Symptoms

Sleep Disruption

Other Symptoms

  • Possibly improved or reduced side effects of conventional treatment, including hair loss and depleted immune system, in limited clinical trials26
  • Substantially improved wasting (cachectic) symptoms among people undergoing treatment for oral cancer in a small nonrandomized study27
  • Reduced chemotherapy-induced fever that accompanies an abnormally low number of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) among pediatric cancer patients28
  • Fewer immune compromised/neutropenic episodes in pediatric patients undergoing chemotherapy29

Reducing Risk

Reducing the risk of developing cancer or the risk of recurrence

Colorectal Cancer

Oral Cancer

  • Substantially reduced local recurrences among people with oral cancer when added to radical surgery followed by irradiation and/or adjuvant chemotherapy in small nonrandomized studies31

Cautions

FWGE is not recommended for use by pregnant and nursing women, patients with sensitivity to gluten, those with fructose intolerance, or patients with organ or tissue transplants.

Because FWGE may have estrogen-receptor activity, those with an estrogen-dependent cancer (some breast, ovarian or uterine cancers) should consult a licensed provider who is knowledgeable and experienced with using FWGE in such cancers.

Access

Fermented wheat germ extract supplements are widely available and generally low cost (<$500/year).

Dosing

BCCT does not recommend therapies or doses, but only provides information for patients and providers to consider as part of a complete treatment plan. Patients should discuss therapies with their physicians, as contraindications, interactions and side effects must be evaluated. Levels of active ingredients of natural products can vary widely between and even within products. See Quality and Sources of Herbs, Supplements and Other Natural Products.

Dosage recommendations are available from these sources:

Integrative Programs, Protocols and Medical Systems

For more information about programs and protocols, see our Integrative Programs and Protocols page.

Non-cancer Uses of FWGE

FWGE has been used in treatment for heart disease as well as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease. BCCT has not reviewed the effectiveness of this therapy for non-cancer uses.

 

View All References

More Information

  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s About Herbs: Wheat germ extract
  • CAM-Cancer Summaries: Fermented wheat germ extract
  • Moss Reports (purchase required): Select from the list of cancers down the left side of the page for a report describing uses of conventional, complementary, alternative and integrative therapies related to that cancer. Ralph Moss is among the most knowledgeable and balanced researchers of integrative cancer therapies. The cost of his Moss Reports is not negligible, but many patients find them of considerable value. Moss is also available for consultations.
  • TRC Natural Medicines: Fermented Wheat Germ Extract (subscription required): in-depth information, ratings of effectiveness and safety and evaluation of specific FWGE products
  • The Moss Report Podcast: Can Cancer Cells Become Normal Again?
  • Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn Gazella: The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition

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